Missouri House Passes Animal Rights Limitation, Other Bills

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JEFFERSON CITY - House members passed a bill Thursday that would prevent any state law from giving animals the same or greater rights than humans.

House Bill 1513's sponsor, Ward Franz, R-West Plains, said the agricultural community is afraid the animal rights community might impair its ability to raise livestock.

"We want to send a message that Missouri is protecting the agricultural community, and we don't want outside interests telling us what to do," Franz said.

Other members of the house disagreed that the measure was necessary. Mike Colona, D-St. Louis, said the measure could in fact backfire by suggesting animals could have rights close to those of humans. Jill Schupp, D-Creve Coeur, said the bill could undo measures such as Proposition B, the puppy mill legislation approved by voters in 2010. Schupp said HB 1513 neither advances animal rights nor prevents people from starving.

The House passed the bill 116-33.

The House passed several other bills before adjourning for its spring break. These bills included legislation authorizing a prescription drug monitoring program, a pilot program to expand children's access to their incarcerated mothers, and reclassifying abusive head trauma, or "shaken baby syndrome," as a form of child abuse. Meanwhile, the Senate passed SB 722, which prevents any company which does business with Iran's energy sector from making contracts larger than $1 million with the state of Missouri or any political subdivisions within the state.